Duquesne Light gets PUC approval for ToU pricing pilot

Metering.com 16 MARCH 2016

smart metersSmart Meters

US energy regulator Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has approved Duquesne Light’s proposal to implement a time-of-use (ToU) rate pilot.

Up to 150,000 of the utility’s 588,000 residential metering points in Allegheny and Beaver Counties will be used in the pilot.

The programme is set to kick-start on the 1st of June 2016 and end in May, 2017.

Commenting on the development, Krysia Kubiak, director of State Regulatory Strategy and Government Affairs at Duquesne Light said ToU pricing will give customers an incentive to shift their demand to off-peak hours.

ToU pricing will give customers an incentive to shift their demand to off-peak hours

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the programme’s implementation is in line with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Act 129 stipulating that utilities in the Keystone State take energy efficiency and conservation measures including deployment of smart meters technology. Utilities are also mandated to test ToU rates, real-time pricing plans, default service procurement, alternative energy sources and cost recovery.

“The program is voluntary, and any customer with a smart meter is eligible to sign up. The utility will evaluate the program and submit a report to the state Public Utility Commission by Nov. 30,” said PUC spokesman, Nils Hagen-Frederiksen.

Smart meters benefits

As utilities in the US are at various stages regarding Pennsylvania Act 129 stipulations, some are already shouting out loud smart meters benefits.

In early March, US utility Florida Power & Light Co. (FP&L) announced that smart meters saved the utility US$46m in operational costs in 2015.

Eric Silagy, president of FPL said: “We have made remarkable strides in our ability to monitor and manage the electric system today compared to just a few years ago.”

The meters also helped in keeping the bills low.

Silagy added: “The smart meters on homes and businesses, together with thousands of intelligent devices installed on our poles and wires, provide unprecedented visibility across the grid, allowing FPL to detect and prevent many issues before they become problems for our customers.”

Smart meters installation

To date, FPL said it has installed 4,8 million smart meters with the remaining 2,000 commercial and industrial metering points expected to be installed with smart meters in 2017.

The utility started the rollout of smart grid technologies to the tune of the US$800 million in 2010.

Of the project’s total cost, US$200 million was covered by a grant, which FPL won from the US Department of Energy.

In 2014, the utility recorded operational savings of more than us$30 million, Palm Beach Post reported.